Golf Celebrity Style
In many ways, what was once an intimate social get-together in a gorgeous locale is now the same as any other $4 million tournament where the winner pockets $720,000. Guys tend to get very serious when theyre playing for that kind of cash.
But in obvious ways, this is not like any other week on tour. In most weeks save for the Bob Hope, Ray Romanos not doing his best material with a club in hand down by the ocean. Bill Murrays not running a spectator through a sand trap. So serious money aside, over the next four days golf marries showbiz. And with America home gearing up for the Super Bowl, there are more casual viewers likely to tune in if they see Costner or Romano laughing it up on the links. Golf, people are reminded, is a cool game and a fun time.
Of course, many pros arent amused, put off by six-hour rounds, spiked-up greens and the famously foul weather. For goodness sakes it snowed here Monday, as it did 40 years ago. Last year brought 75 and sunny for an entire, blissful week. So the weathers capricious, to say the least. Either you deal with it, or stay home.
As for Tiger Woods, who knows what this trip to the peninsula will bring? We do know that each year hes brought considerable fanfare, from the 3-wood homerun to No. 18 in 1997 to the Gogel-popping hole-out at the 15th to the greatest runaway at a major ever to last years battle of the wounded knee.
Woods begins his first full-field event this year on the PGA Tour after a good-hit, no-putt effort at the Mercedes and a circus stop in New Zealand. Tigers a native Californian who enjoys the courses, weather and terrain the state has to offer.
Going back to his 6-iron dart that beat Lehman at La Costa in 1997 and through the history-making Open at Pebble, Woods has recorded some of his finest moments in the Golden State. Hes playing the first of four in a row in California and figures to answer the early salvos fired by Sergio Garcia and Phil Mickelson. Sergios not entered, but Mickelson is, with Davis Love III defending.
Meanwhile, rocker Huey Lewis partners with Peter Jacobsen, who received the first Jack Lemmon Golf Ambassador Award Tuesday from the California Golf Writers Association. For nearly two hilarious decades, Jacobsen was Lemmons Walter Matthau on the golf course. The man they called Lem died last year, but the legend lives on. All the competitors this week will display bag tags honoring the two-time Oscar winner. Jacobsen pointed out that Wednesday was also Payne Stewarts birthday. Jakes caddie this week is Paynes old looper, Mike Hicks. Its a great week, Jake mused, for reminiscing. That hasnt changed in the 65 wild, wet and wonderful years theyre gathered here to play.
Watch: Bubba casually hits flop shot over caddie's head
But when your end-of-year bonus is a couple of brand new vehicles, you're expected to go above and beyond every now and then.
One of those times came early Thursday at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, where Bubba Watson’s caddie Ted Scott let his boss hit a flop shot over his head.
It wasn’t quite Phil Mickelson over Dave Pelz, but the again, nothing is.
And the unique warm-up session paid off, as Watson went on to defeat Marc Leishman 3 and 2 to move to 2-0-0 in group play.
Hey, whatever works.
Spieth explains why he won't play in a 'dome'
AUSTIN, Texas – No one at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play was as excited about Thursday’s forecast as Jordan Spieth.
Winds blew across Austin Country Club to 20 mph, which is typical for this time of year in Texas, and Spieth put in a typical performance, beating HaoTong Li, 4 and 2, to remain undefeated entering the final day of pool play.
The windy conditions were exactly what Spieth, who never trailed in his match, wanted. In fact, demanding conditions factor into how he sets his schedule.
“I have, and will continue to schedule tournaments away from a dome, because it's just unusual for me. I like having the feel aspect,” said Spieth, who attended the University of Texas and played Austin Country Club in college. “Places with no wind, where it's just driving range shots, it's just never been something I've been used to. So I don't really know what to do on them.”
Spieth used the CareerBuilder Challenge as an example. The Coachella Valley event rarely has windy conditions, and as a result he’s never played the tournament.
“I played in a dome in Phoenix, and I didn't strike the ball well there. Actually I've had quite a few this year, where we didn't have very windy conditions,” said Spieth, who will face Patrick Reed in his final pool play match on Friday. “I don't go to Palm Springs, never have, because of that. Look at where you can take weeks off and if they match up with places that potentially aren't the best for me, then it works out.”
Curry jokes about Romo's 77: 'Got him by a stroke'
This just in ... professional athletes are competitive. Even when they're playing their secondary sport.
Playing in the Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship on a sponsor exemption Thursday, former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo started hot with an even-par 36 on his opening nine holes, but faded down the stretch to open with a 5-over 77.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle's Ron Kroichick, Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry couldn't help but crack a smile when informed of the score, saying, "I got him by a stroke."
Just told @StephenCurry30 that Tony Romo finished 5-over in PGA Tour event in Dominican Republic. Curry smiled and said, "I got him by a stroke." He shot 4-over (twice) in https://t.co/gZ56s2K2Mk start last August.— Ron Kroichick (@ronkroichick) March 22, 2018
Curry was referencing his brief foray into pro golf last August, when he shot back-to-back 4-over 74s at the Web.com's Ellie Mae Classic.
So just in case Romo needed another reason to go low tomorrow when he tees off at 1 p.m. in the second round, he's got one.
Group standings at WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play
Here are the group standings for pool play at the 2018 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship in Austin, Texas. The player with the most points in each pool advanced to Saturday's Round of 16 in Austin, Texas. Click here for scoring and click here for the bracket.
|Group 1||Group 2||Group 3||Group 4|
|(1) D. Johnson: 0-2-0||(2) J. Thomas: 1-0-0||(3) J. Rahm: 0-1-1||(4) J. Spieth: 2-0-0|
|(32) K. Kisner: 0-0-1||(21) F. Molinari: 1-0-0||(28) K. Aphibarnrat: 2-0-0||(19) P. Reed: 2-0-0|
|(38) A. Hadwin: 1-0-1
||(48) P. Kizzire: 0-1-0||(43) C. Reavie: 1-1-0||(34) H. Li: 0-2-0|
|(52) B. Wiesberger: 1-0-0
||(60) L. List: 0-1-0||(63) K. Bradley: 0-1-1||(49) C. Schwartzel: 0-2-0|
|Group 5||Group 6||Group 7||Group 8|
|(5) H. Matsuyama: 1-0-0||(6) R. McIlroy: 1-1-0||(7) S. Garcia: 1-0-0||(8) J. Day: 1-0-0|
|(30) P. Cantlay: 0-1-0
||(18) B. Harman: 0-0-1||(20) X. Schauffele: 1-0-0||(25) L. Oosthuizen: 1-0-0|
|(46) C. Smith: 1-0-0||(44) J. Vegas: 0-1-1||(41) D. Frittelli: 0-1-0||(42) J. Dufner: 0-1-0|
|(53) Y. Miyazato: 0-1-0||(51) P. Uihlein: 1-0-0||(62) S. Sharma: 0-1-0||(56) J. Hahn: 0-1-0|
|Group 9||Group 10||Group 11||Group 12|
|(9) T. Fleetwood: 1-1-0||(10) P. Casey: 2-0-0||(11) M. Leishman: 0-2-0||(12) T. Hatton: 1-0-0|
|(26) D. Berger: 0-2-0||(31) M. Fitzpatrick: 0-1-0||(23) B. Grace: 1-1-0||(22) C. Hoffman: 0-1-0|
|(33) K. Chappell: 1-1-0||(45) K. Stanley: 1-1-0||(35) B. Watson: 2-0-0||(36) B. Steele: 1-0-0|
|(58) I. Poulter: 2-0-0||(51) R. Henley: 0-1-0||(64) J. Suri: 1-1-0||(55) A. Levy: 0-1-0|
|Group 13||Group 14||Group 15||Group 16|
|(13) A. Noren: 2-0-0||(14) P. Mickelson: 1-1-0||(15) P. Perez: 0-0-1||(16) M. Kuchar: 1-0-1|
|(29) T. Finau: 2-0-0||(17) R. Cabrera Bello: 1-1-0||(24) G. Woodland: 0-0-1||(27) R. Fisher: 1-1-0|
|(39) T. Pieters: 0-2-0||(40) S. Kodaira: 0-2-0||(37) W. Simpson: 0-0-1||(47) Y. Ikeda: 1-1-0|
|(61) K. Na: 0-2-0||(59) C. Howell III: 2-0-0||(50) S.W. Kim: 0-0-1||(54) Z. Johnson: 0-1-1|